Hillary Clinton delighted her top donors on Tuesday by posting a third quarter fund-raising total significantly higher than the one reported by Barack Obama.
“This is the confirmation of Hillary’s front-runner status,” said Fred Hochberg, a major donor to Mrs. Clinton and the dean of the Milano the New School for Management and Urban Policy.
In an e-mail that went out to supporters on the morning of Oct. 2, Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle wrote, “Our fund-raising is through the roof!”
“Hillary wanted you to be the first to know that this was our best quarter yet. More than 100,000 new donors,” she wrote in the message. “A total of $27 million raised—substantially more than any other candidate in the race.”
The critical element within the total was the $22 million Mrs. Clinton raised specifically to be spent in the primary, compared to Mr. Obama’s $19 million, reported a day earlier. Some Clinton supporters said that they knew their total for days leading up to the reporting, but kept them private, preferring to release them on a day that Mr. Obama was scheduled to deliver a speech marking his five-year anniversary of opposing the war in Iraq.
It worked. “Queen of the Quarter: Hillary Crushes Obama in Surprise Fundraising Surge,” read the headline that sat on top of the Drudge Report for the entire news cycle.
“The third quarter is historically the hardest quarter to raise money for political campaigns, and the fact that she was able to out-raise not only Obama, but Obama and Edwards combined, as well as more than doubling what any Republican raised is indicative of her strength as a candidate,” said Hassan Nemazee, a prominent bundler for Mrs. Clinton. “She will be the best financed to be able to put her message out.”
“It makes it much more difficult for the Obama campaign to go out in the fourth quarter,” he continued. “Now they’ve not only got the national polls running against them, and the insistent inevitability issue that is being raised, [but] you are now getting a lot of people who are saying to themselves, if they are Obama people or prospective Obama people, ‘Am I really prepared to put some money into this given the fact that it doesn’t look like it is going to happen?’”
Referring to Mr. Obama’s emphasis on his vote to oppose the war in Iraq, Robert Zimmerman, a Clinton supporter, Democratic National Committee member and public relations executive, said, “There is no question he has had great fund-raising success, but no candidate ever succeeds with a message of ‘I told you so.’”
He added, “This incredible success is a tribute to Hillary Clinton’s performance in the debates and her message as a candidate.”
Mr. Obama’s campaign and supporters, which have gotten significant mileage out of Mr. Obama’s impressive totals earlier in the year, did their best to underplay the significance of Mrs. Clinton’s haul.
“In the course of this campaign, I am not at all surprised that Senator Clinton outscores us in at least one of the innings in a nine-inning ballgame,” said Jeh C. Johnson, a member of Obama’s national finance committee and a former general council in the Department of the Air Force in the Clinton administration. “In terms of overall money raised for the primaries, we’re at about 74 or 75 [million] and she’s at 62. We’re ahead by $12 million—that’s if you exclude the $10 million she transferred from her Senate campaign. So we remain ahead.”